Northern Maine's Deer Herd

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In my opinion the moose too. I used to see so many and so much sign while deer hunting. Its getting to be less and less of them too. Just my observations and opinions.
 

JDK

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Longitudinal we are far north.

That said, I am also convinced there aren’t a lot of places that get the amount snow we do, normally, or have the length of time that deer need to yard.

Good discussion. Too bad we have to have it.
 

JDK

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Too be fair to the biologist, I’m not sure he said that there weren’t deer in the late 1800s or early 1900s.
 

JDK

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Wait a minute. Climate change in the 1800s caused deer to move north?
 

NoDeerHere

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I sent another email to the biologist in Ashland. I will post my email to him and his response back today.

Shawn,

Thanks for the quick response. I already knew most of what you said but what I was looking for is what is the state doing to correct the problem? Should the state shut the season down up north for a few years to let the herd rebound? Will the deer still die if they are not shot? Canada has wolves and they have deer? Should more moose be taken? You certainly painted a bleak picture for the future of deer hunting up north. Is anything going to be done or will it end up like the Caribou in Maine?

Thanks
Kip

His response:

Well, the good news is that unlike 10-20 years ago, we are not seeing die-offs in the towns during very severe winters anymore. Organized (ACCA) and unorganized feeding around towns keeps them alive even though there is nothing for them to eat, in terms of natural browse, by the time New Year comes around. As per the 125th Legislature in 2011, as far as I know we are the only State in the Union that pays certain hunters and trappers to remove coyotes that would otherwise harm overwintering deer. We see local successes through this program. Other ideas?

Curtailing the buck hunt would do nothing, except make the adult sex ratio a little closer to even. Many locals would like to see more adult does taken by hunting for this reason and others. We have some really old does up here b/c the hunting pressure on them is so low and other winter mortality factors around the towns seem to be in check, compared to just 10 years ago.

There is a plan afoot to manage moose in Maine, albeit a very small part of their range in the western half of zone 4. There may be some hearings about this at some point, so let us know if you do or do not support this new direction when the time comes. I’m pretty sure it has been proposed for all of northern Maine before, but it probably won’t be enough to change things much for deer at this point anyhow. Times change, and some things we cannot control, but some we can try to manage. I appreciate the thoughts. This is a pretty common conversation up here, and the locals understand our current situation fairly well, which is stable until something like CWD happens. Thanks. feel free to call me with further questions. Shawn 592-4446 cell
 

Huntermc6

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There’s a really good book called Chasing Danforth that’s about the Umbag

There’s a nice book called Chasing Danforth that covers a guide/hunter in the Umbagog area during that time frame. He mentions hunting deer, bear, moose, and caribou. Perhaps the biologist guy should read some of those old books.
Do you know where I might be able to find a copy of this book? I did a quick google search but there was 1 copy on Amazon that was $150, that's a pretty steep price tag.

Here are 3 articles on deer hunting in northern Maine that cover from the 1800's to present . Why do we keep hearing that northern Maine is the top of the Whitetail deer range when there is a lot of deer in Canada . That game biologist that sent that email claiming there were no deer in northern Maine in the late 1800's and early 1900's is just plain false.



Was able to read the first 2 of these links. That Sporting Journal article has a lot of interesting details in it. I wish they had an updated version since it looks like that one stopped summarizing the hunting data in the 90's.

If you all haven't I would suggest listening to the Big Woods Bucks Podcast episodes with the Maine deer biologist Nathan Beiber. He talks about the struggle of obtaining funding for collar studies. There is a discussion about the massive difference in the North and South portions of the state and the difficulties of managing both at the same time, I didn't realize that making major changes to the management process and/or hunting/fishing laws has to go through Maine's congress which is a slow and tedious process which was also discussed.

I'd encourage everyone with comments or concerns to reach out to him. Him and I have emailed back and forth a little and he is very responsive.
 

JDK

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Huntermc6

We are spinning our wheels here in the north. IF&W, under Gerry Lavigne and others, tried to manage the deer herd statewide as a single unit. Past deer management plans called for a statewide deer density of 10 deer per square mile (I believe that was the number but not 100% sure). They realized that was not going to happen and the goal was never going to be achieved.

IMHO, IF&W only has 2 tools, seasons and permits. Doubtful that they are going to close seasons and not sure how much lower than 0 you can go with AD permits. Again, IMHO, IF&W completely missed the boat in the late 90s and early 2000s when they should have been issuing more any-deer permits in zones 1-6. Not doing so resulted in degradation of winter habitat that I don't believe we will recover from...ever. Until we can get a handle on habitat management nothing is going to change and that is going to be difficult, if not impossible with private industrial landownership.

I've said it before and I'll say in again. Northern New Brunswick is under that same general land ownership as we are. The province closed their deer season for nearly 10 years and I have been told that there was no real gain in numbers. Radio collars are only going to tell them what we already know, just like the magic moose helicopter. An easy winter in 2020-21 will result in more deer which will get pounded in the field early and heading to yard later. Boom and bust.

Again, just my opinion.
 

NorthMaine

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They're trying to portray the "appearance" of management practices, while ensuring none of the "data" presented would result in reduced license purchases. At the end of the day, MIFW is a business first and a management organization/conservation agency second IMO.
 
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Huntermc6

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Huntermc6

We are spinning our wheels here in the north. IF&W, under Gerry Lavigne and others, tried to manage the deer herd statewide as a single unit. Past deer management plans called for a statewide deer density of 10 deer per square mile (I believe that was the number but not 100% sure). They realized that was not going to happen and the goal was never going to be achieved.

IMHO, IF&W only has 2 tools, seasons and permits. Doubtful that they are going to close seasons and not sure how much lower than 0 you can go with AD permits. Again, IMHO, IF&W completely missed the boat in the late 90s and early 2000s when they should have been issuing more any-deer permits in zones 1-6. Not doing so resulted in degradation of winter habitat that I don't believe we will recover from...ever. Until we can get a handle on habitat management nothing is going to change and that is going to be difficult, if not impossible with private industrial landownership.

I've said it before and I'll say in again. Northern New Brunswick is under that same general land ownership as we are. The province closed their deer season for nearly 10 years and I have been told that there was no real gain in numbers. Radio collars are only going to tell them what we already know, just like the magic moose helicopter. An easy winter in 2020-21 will result in more deer which will get pounded in the field early and heading to yard later. Boom and bust.

Again, just my opinion.
The first article that is from the Sporting Journal outlined the 10 deer per sq mile as a management goal. I can't comment on the ADP's in the 90's and early 2000's I was pretty young then and had no idea about the conservation process but many of you on here lived it so I can only assume that your ideas are more in line with the practices that should have taken place. Hindsight being 20/20 also helps with those criticisms of the path taken by IDF&W. I could not agree more with the sentences I bolded in your reply, I think habitat is the #1 driver for survival of any species and all other factors, predators, hunting, winter kill etc. rise and fall as a result of habitat or lack there of.

The private forestry industry is likely the main driver of jobs in the North and that is always going to be a problem for the deer and moose populations I doubt we the people with minimal resources will ever be able to do anything about that in so far as wildlife management is concerned. I'm not going to go on much of a tangent here but the article from the Bangor Daily that was posted here about Al "chainsaw" Dunlap outlines some of the issues that capitalism brings to the environment. While the wildlife belong theoretically to the "people of Maine" the land they reside on belong to the private owners and we can't really tell them what to do on on or with their land for the most part. It's a catch-22 in my mind, I would like to state to have more control over management of the wildlife but I don't want to open pandora's box of having the government telling private land owners what they can and cannot do with their land any more than is already in place.

They're trying to portray the "appearance" of management practices, while ensuring none of the "data" presented would result in reduced license purchases. At the end of the day, MIFW is a business first and a management organization second IMO.
I get that MIF&W has a budget and brings in money based on sales of licenses among other things but it doesn't turn a profit. Can you elaborate on this idea?
 

NoDeerHere

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Do you know where I might be able to find a copy of this book? I did a quick google search but there was 1 copy on Amazon that was $150, that's a pretty steep price tag.



Was able to read the first 2 of these links. That Sporting Journal article has a lot of interesting details in it. I wish they had an updated version since it looks like that one stopped summarizing the hunting data in the 90's.

If you all haven't I would suggest listening to the Big Woods Bucks Podcast episodes with the Maine deer biologist Nathan Beiber. He talks about the struggle of obtaining funding for collar studies. There is a discussion about the massive difference in the North and South portions of the state and the difficulties of managing both at the same time, I didn't realize that making major changes to the management process and/or hunting/fishing laws has to go through Maine's congress which is a slow and tedious process which was also discussed.

I'd encourage everyone with comments or concerns to reach out to him. Him and I have emailed back and forth a little and he is very responsive.
Thanks for posting. They were talking about some of the same things mention here. This was 2 years ago so I would like to here there view today.
 

NH Mountains

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Do you know where I might be able to find a copy of this book? I did a quick google search but there was 1 copy on Amazon that was $150, that's a pretty steep price tag.



Was able to read the first 2 of these links. That Sporting Journal article has a lot of interesting details in it. I wish they had an updated version since it looks like that one stopped summarizing the hunting data in the 90's.

If you all haven't I would suggest listening to the Big Woods Bucks Podcast episodes with the Maine deer biologist Nathan Beiber. He talks about the struggle of obtaining funding for collar studies. There is a discussion about the massive difference in the North and South portions of the state and the difficulties of managing both at the same time, I didn't realize that making major changes to the management process and/or hunting/fishing laws has to go through Maine's congress which is a slow and tedious process which was also discussed.

I'd encourage everyone with comments or concerns to reach out to him. Him and I have emailed back and forth a little and he is very responsive.
I’m not sure. The author of the book was living in the Littleton NH area when the book was published but, that was 15+ years ago.
 

grey ghost

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"I've said it before and I'll say in again. Northern New Brunswick is under that same general land ownership as we are. The province closed their deer season for nearly 10 years and I have been told that there was no real gain in numbers. Radio collars are only going to tell them what we already know, just like the magic moose helicopter. An easy winter in 2020-21 will result in more deer which will get pounded in the field early and heading to yard later. Boom and bust."

Northern NB zones have been closed for 30 yrs , closure is not the answer to this problem.
Hunter's are part of the solution , and are not part of the problem.
 

groundtender

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In the last 6-7 years I have hunted deer a couple times in NB zones just east of Fort Fairfield/Van Buren, Maine area. Tons of deer by Maine standards. Much higher percentage of black growth cover. Province record was shot by someone we met in restaurant. 190+ B&C
 
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JDK

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In the last 6-7 years I have hunted deer a couple times in NB zones just east of Fort Fairfield/Van Buren, Maine area. Tons of deer by Maine standards. Much higher percentage of black growth cover. Province record was shot by someone we met in restaurant. 190+ B&C

We have friends that own land in the Perth area. There are a lot of deer over there.
 




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